Is it Real, or is it Metaphor?
The modernist "geniuses" that declare that most of the cited passage from Ephesians 3 are metaphorical forget that the Apostles knew that Jesus had taken great pains to outline the arrangements he was making concerning his departure from earth to heaven, of which the following passage from John 16:4-15 is one of many cited in John's account of the Last Supper. It contains details that I think will help us with this problem:
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
The span of the passage from verse 7 to 15 has to do with the Holy Spirit and how it interacts with the believers. Let's take each verse in turn:
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
"Bastazo", the greek word translated "bear" here, means to carry something, and also embraces the logically preceeding act of taking the object up. If we didn't realize something that was said, or did not understand the implications of what was said, we might say "I didn't pick that up" or "I didn't pick up on that". The usage of the word here does not imply that the knowledge Jesus would have imparted would have mentally harmed or crushed them. Rather, they simply would not be able to understand what was being told to them. It would not fit into any mental categories that they possessed. A good example of this was Jesus trying to tell them of his crucifixion in advance. They understood the concept of crucifixion, but to really be mentally prepared for that event required that they accept the concept of the Messiah dying for sins. Their mental category for Messiah made him out to be a victorious conqueror and restorer of the Davidic Throne and Kingdom, not a suffering servant dying for the sins of the world.
Another way to look at this is to liken a mental category to a role in a familiar play, with the character's words and actions mapped out in everyone's mind. The behavior of the character is mapped out in "a script" to the point that there is a mental image of what the character "should be like". There is a certain amount of leeway in the way an actor can play the character, and the really great actors extend the boundaries of an established character (Hamlet, Shylock, Falstaff) within the parameters of the script that make people say, "Isn't he a a great Hamlet. I didn't expect the way he delivered his lines in the second act, but it made so much sense!"
However, even a great actor has limits on how much they can push the script: straying too far from the script or the common perception of the part being played will earn catcalls and rotten fruit, not kudos and roses. "That's not in the script!" when said of an actor is a statement that the actor went too far. That's what happened with the disciples: the warnings were meant to mentally prepare them for the event, but when it happened, they had not "picked up" on the implications, leading them to cry "That wasn't in the Messiah script!" Jesus understood that the required mental categories required to understand what he wanted to tell them either were deficient or non-existent, so he did not waste time or breath to tell them what they could not "pick up" at that time.
This concept of the mental categories of men not permitting them to understand what is told them or comprehend what they experience is one that I will bring up in other essays, because it is this very thing that has caused many problems that will require some cleaning up if we are to proceed forward. For instance, if something is not completely understood, one is unable to communicate it accurately or act upon it fully. Such a one would create confusion, not comprehension. By not even trying to convey the ideas, Jesus avoided the future creation of a confused record of what he said, making matters worse. Even then, there are problems: the New Testament writers speak of the mystery of the Gospel, meaning that there were aspects of the Gospel that did not fit into the mental categories of their hearers. These hearers would call the Gospel a "mystery", while we would call it "a failure to fit within their mental categories". If Jesus had gone ahead and told the disciples those "many things", then the disciples would have called it a mystery, and doubtless would have bungled the transmission of those "many things" to others. Calling something a Mystery is a signal that "the idea did not get across" from the speaker/writer to their hearers/readers. True education, and the goal of the Apostles, was to get the Gospel across so that there was no mystery.
3 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Jesus says the same thing in John 14:26. In 1 John 2:26, John likened the Holy Spirit to a teacher, who conducted his teaching so competently and thoroughly that no human intervention or education was necessary.
These verses pack so much, it would take a separate essay to do them justice. For the present purpose, I will restrict myself to noting that there are at least five things implied in this verse. Firstly, it confirms the belief that the "many things" are truths that are comprehendable, not emotionally unbearable. Secondly, it teaches that the Spirit of truth will communicate those truths. Thirdly, it fixes Pentecost as the time when the transmission of those "many things" starts. Fourthly, it implies that the mental categories held by the disciples will not prevent them from "picking up" on those truths at that time, since this is a promise that they can reach the goal of getting "all truth", provided they follow the guidance of the Spirit of truth. Fifthly, it states that the process of the disciples coming to understand those "many things" is simliar to being guided on a path to some destination, not a process of revelation in which the truth is deposited in the seeker.
Although the last two points will be dealt with in a separate essay, I will comment briefly on the fourth point: the overcoming of mental categories that restricted the view of the world held by scientists and engineers is the key factor that leads to alternative insights that become the foundations of scientific and technological revolutions. A shift in perspective placed the sun in the center of the solar system, starting the modern era of astronomy. Newton overcame the mental category that the attraction of objects to the earth was of limited range, peformed a back-of-the-envelope calculation involving the moon, and got an answer close enough to make him pursue the matter further. Max Planck figured out an equation that accurately modeled the frequency distribution of black body radiation that had stumped others for decades, probed the equation for an overarching concept, realized it implied that light frequency came in fixed units, thus overcoming the mental category of the frequency of light being continuous that paved the way to Quantum Theory. Einstein overcame the mental concept of the speed of light behaving like moving objects when viewed from different frames that were in motion and came up with the Theory of Special Relativity. Science historians speak of such overcomings of the standard prevailing view to see a new vision of reality by these individuals in terms of them gaining a "sudden insight", an "inspiration", or "a sudden vision". The implication of point four is that the Holy Spirit will do this for "all truth", implying that it includes scientific truths and truths about reality. The questions and doubts that arise in opposition to those implications are understandable, since the entire process seems haphazard and seemingly dependent on the good luck of intelligent and insightful people being born at the right time. To pose the thesis that Christians have the potential to intentionally drive the process forward seems presumptuous and hubristic. Before a false modesty bull-rushes you into the belief that the phrase "all truth" only means all spiritual truth consider these questions: Is this reluctance to believe due to a mental category blocking acceptance? Is not the proposition "the phrase 'all truth' in verse 13 refers to all spiritual truth" itself a spiritual truth, thus making it decidable? And with a reminder that mathematics and computer science have developed mathematical machinery to deal with such questions, I return to the present discussion.
13 (continued) for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
This second half of verse 13 goes into details that help us understand the "what" of Symbiosis, and gives some information on what to expect. The first thing we learn is that Symbiosis manifests as a form of "port forwarding". Port forwarding is a computer software technology that is part of the Internet. All computers have "ports" through which computer internet software communicates. The computer from which this web page came from (the web server) has software listening on port 80. Your computer located the server computer and sent a message to port 80, giving the information in the address bar or the link you clicked to identify this page. The web server used the same port to return this page in a form that your browser could use to display this page.
In port forwarding, two ports on the same computer are tied together by a software program. What goes into the left port goes out on the right. What goes into the right port goes out the left. The program itself does nothing to the data unless doing so ensures that the data gets to its destination in an understandable form.
This analogy assures us that every bit of information that the Deus symbiote within us hears in heaven will be spoken to us. The transmission is so complete, and the bandwidth is so wide, that there's not enough room in the data stream for the Holy Spirit to communicate any bit of information about himself. Theologians speculate that God's view of time and space is such that he can "see from the beginning to the end", so the information transmitted from God to Homo actually includes being able to see the future ("shew you things to come"). Whether it is understandable by the Homo host is another matter, doubtless accounting for the patchy nature of current day Charismatic and Pentecostal prophecy. In First Corinthians 14, Paul urges those seeking spiritual gifts to pray for the gift of prophecy. The prophecies themselves are considered by Paul of little import, since he himself ignored numerous prophecies concerning his future arrest. What seems to count is that, to handle the bigger data stream, understand its content, and use that understanding to edify the Church, requires that the Homo host undergo some improvement and expansion. Anybody can speak in tounges: prophecy requires a host of a higher calibre. Praying consciously for it is a form of cooperation in improving the symbiotic pairing, and Paul's promise is that praying for improvement in that area is to be encouraged. Perhaps research and spiritual exercises conceived along Symbiotic lines can improve the success rate of such prayers.
The communications channel is not perfect both ways, which is a good thing: Paul assures us that, when it comes to our prayers, the Spirit edits them before presenting them to God the Father. Whew!
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Here is the key that will unlock the puzzle of the phrase "in Christ": the other end of the Deus connection ends at Jesus Christ himself. Everything that is being forwarded to the Homo host comes from Jesus Christ. We know that only God the Father knowsthe day and hour of the Second Coming and that Jesus doesn't know it. If everything your boy hears is potentially broadcastable to one and a half billion believers bare microseconds after it is uttered, then prudence recommends implementing some form of operational security that involves not saying anything to that son that shouldn't be heard by those believers.
I think we have enough information to deduce the true meaning of "in Christ".
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